BURNING RUBBER: Spartans pull away from Zachary after quick start

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Curtis Watts drives baseline ahead of Zachary’s Corey Gibbs to extend the lead to 42-20 in the third quarter of the Spartans’ 68-57 victory at the Grady Hornsby Classic in Denham Springs Monday night.

DENHAM?SPRINGS?­– East Ascension used a 13-1 run to close out the first quarter after Keith Fleming, who had a game-high 25 points, picked up his second foul and held off a late rally from Zachary to net a 68-57 victory in the Grady Hornsby Classic Monday night at Denham Springs High School’s Hornsby Gym.

The Spartans (3-2) outscored the Broncos 22-13 in the second quarter and led by as many as 23 points before halftime but  Zachary (1-2) cut it to 11 going into the final frame behind a full court press.

“We went to a 2-3 zone and I think that helped a lot,” East Ascension head coach Kenny Almond said. “It looked like it bothered Zachary a little bit and Keith was able to rebound and stay out of foul trouble which was big. It looked like we got some better run outs and layups out of the zone than we have in man because we rebounded, got it out and went with it.

“We have to able to handle that kind of pressure they put on us in the second half and as young as we are it is going to be difficult. We had a tough time in Donaldsonville and hopefully, we have corrected some of those mistakes.”

Tyler Wright added 11 points for EA and Curtis Watts provided 10, while Donald LeBlanc and Devonte Fisher each had eight.

Corey Gibbs and Morris Wright each had 13 for Zachary, while Carlos Burrell added 10 and Tremon Mims provided nine.

“We missed a lot of shots in the first half and didn’t have any kind of offensive rebounding,”

Zachary head coach Kirby Loupe said. “That leads to a lot of transition baskets for the other team and we didn’t do a good job of getting back. When you are missing shots and they aren’t, it kind of snowballs and next thing you know, the lead gets out of control.”

Wright’s 3-pointer from the left corner put East Ascension on the board. LeBlanc’s dish out to DeAndre Smith for a 3-pointer near the top of the key closed out the first quarter after Watts’ baseline drive kickstarted the run which included three straight dishes from Bobby Madere to Fleming, Smith and Wright, all in transition.

The Spartans used another 13-2 run midway through the second quarter kickstarted by Fleming’s putback and spin and one inside. Wright’s free throws gave East Ascension their biggest lead 38-15 after Madere fed Watts in transition and LeBlanc converted consecutive lay ups off steals.

Fleming’s turnaround jumper opened the second half before Watts’ baseline drive and Wright’s dish to LeBlanc in transition made it 44-22 but Zachary’s press sparked an 11-0 run that was capped by Mims’ putback and one. Watts’ dish to Fleming inside made it 46-33 going into the final frame.

Mims’ spin opened the fourth quarter before Fleming took over with a putback and one and lay ups off an inbounds pass from Watts and LeBlanc in transition to make it 53-37.

Smith’s 3-pointer from the top of the key pushed it to 64-44 after Watts and LeBlanc’s transition buckets before Zachary closed out the contest on a 13-4 run that saw John Paul Williams and Willie Williams get in the scorecard for East Ascension.

The?Spartans return to action when they host Broadmoor Monday night.

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East Ascension's Keith Fleming takes a shot against Zachary.